UK launches first ever action plan to improve the welfare and conservation of animals at home and abroad.
In a first of its kind, the Government has published an action plan for animal welfare that will revolutionise the treatment of animals in the UK and introduce measures to protect the welfare of animals abroad.
Now that Britain has left the EU, the UK has new freedoms to further strengthen animal welfare standards and reinforce its position as a global champion of animal rights.
The Action Plan for Animal Welfare, launched today by the Environment Secretary George Eustice, will build on the UK’s existing world leading standards by recognising animals as sentient in law and committing to a range of new game changing welfare measures to protect pets, livestock and wild animals.
During a visit to Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, the Environment Secretary said that the Government would take a significant step forwards on animal welfare by formally recognising animals as sentient beings through a new Animal Sentience Bill that will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow (13 May), putting animal welfare at the very heart of government policy decision making.
Launching the plan, the Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
The Action Plan for Animal Welfare also sets out how the government will:
Improve welfare for pets by:
- tackling puppy smuggling through changes to import rules
- introducing compulsory microchipping for cats
- cracking down on pet theft through a new government taskforce
- banning remote controlled training e-collars
Protect wild animals by:
- making it illegal to keep primates as pets
- introducing new laws to crack down on illegal hare coursing
- supporting legislation to restrict the use of glue traps
- funding wildlife conservation projects both at home abroad
Protect animals abroad by:
- banning the import of hunting trophies from endangered animals
- banning the sale of ivory by implementing the Ivory Act this year
- prohibiting the import and export of detached shark fins to protect the iconic shark species
- exploring a ban on the sale of foie gras
- banning the advertisement in this country of unacceptable low-welfare animal practices abroad – such as elephant rides
Improve welfare for farmed animals by:
- ending the export of live animals for fattening and slaughter
- introducing new measures to improve welfare during transport
- giving the police more powers to protect farm animals from dangerous or out of control dogs
- examining the use of cages for poultry and farrowing crates for pigs
- improving animal welfare at slaughter
- incentivising farmers to improve animal health and welfare through future farming policy
To deliver these reforms, the Government will be introducing a series of Bills in due course focusing on animal sentience, kept animals here in the UK and the welfare of animals. There will also be a series of non-legislative changes to promote animal welfare over the coming months, with a number of regulations due to be brought forward as early as this year.
The Government will also ensure that animal welfare is not compromised in all Britain’s future trade negotiations.
The UK has a world-leading record on animal welfare, and over the last decade the Government has introduced a range measures to ensure we offer animals the care, respect and protection they deserve. This includes banning the use of battery cages for laying hens, introducing compulsory CCTV in slaughter houses and raising the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years.
Chris Sherwood said, Chief Executive of the RSPCA said:
Peter Laurie, Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home said:
Claire Bass, Executive Director of Humane Society International/UK said:
Since 2010, the Government has also brought in mandatory microchipping for dogs to help reunite lost dogs with their owners and has introduced additional protection for service animals by introducing ‘Finn’s Law’. Last year, the Government introduced Lucy’s Law to tackle puppy farming by banning the commercial third-party sales of puppies and kittens. In 2019, the Government also outlawed the use of wild animals in circuses.
Recognising the links between animal health and welfare and the health of our planet, the Government is also working closely with industry to transform future farming policy through the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway which will forge a new deal between government and farmers to promote healthier and higher welfare animals. The Pathway will pay farmers to improve animal health and welfare, reduce carbon emissions and slow the rise of anti-microbial resistance.
The full Action Plan for Animal Welfare can be accessed here.
You can also stay up to date with all the latest developments by searching #ActionForAnimals.